Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sho Ka (?)

Black! crow standing
in his eye all eternity
Long shadows draw

Wild winds abate
In morning's first light
A broken teahouse

Bursting open
The rose dawn fills
My empty universe

No barrier now
Lofty mountain to one
Riding the wind.

-   Sho Ka.

Ikkyu Sojun

A Meal Of Fresh Octopus

Lots of arms, just like Kannon the Goddess;
Sacrificed for me, garnished with citron, I revere it so!
The taste of the sea, just divine!
Sorry, Buddha, this is another precept I just cannot keep.
Ikkyu Sojun :

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

T'ao Ch'ien (365-427)

Ninth Day, Ninth Month

Slowly autumn comes to an end.
Painfully cold a dawn wind thicks the dew.
Grass round here will not be green again,
Trees and leaves are already suffering.
The clear air is drained and purified
And the high white sky’s a mystery.
Nothing’s left of the cicada’s sound.
Flying geese break the heavens’ silence.
The Myriad Creatures rise and return.
How can life and death not be hard?
From the beginning all things have to die.
Thinking of it can bruise the heart.
What can I do to lighten my thoughts?
Solace myself drinking the last of this wine.
Who understands the next thousand years?
Let’s just make this morning last forever.

Tu Fu (712-770)

Moon at Night in Ch’ang-an

North of here in the moonlight
She too looks up in loneliness.
I am sad for our little children,
Too young to think of far off Ch’ang-an.

Clouds of hair wet with jewelled mist.
Cold light on arms of jade.
When will we two stir the silk curtains
While one moon shows the stain of tears?

Note: Tu is in the occupied capital. The past glory is already distant in time. His wife and children are in Fu-chou in the north-east. Those who are parted are linked to each other through watching the same moon.

Du Fu (712-770)

Spring in Ch’ang-an

Fallen States still have hills and streams.
Cities, in Spring, have leaves and grass.
Though tears well at half-open flowers.
Though parted birds rise with secret fears.
War beacons shine through triple moons.
Home news is worth more than gold.
Grey hairs, tugged at every disaster,
Thin on this head that’s too small for its cap.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Su Tung-Po (1037-1101) (Su Shi)

Shui Tiao Ko Tou

Will a moon so bright ever arise again?
Drink a cupful of wine and ask of the sky.
I don't know where the palace gate of heaven is,
Or even the year in which tonight slips by.
I want to return riding the whirl-wind! But I
Feel afraid that this heaven of jasper and jade
Lets in the cold, its palaces rear so high.
I shall get up and dance with my own shadow.
From life endured among men how far a cry!

Round the red pavilion
Slanting through the lattices
Onto every wakeful eye,
Moon, why should you bear a grudge, O why
Insist in time of separation so th fill the sky?
Men know joy and sorow, parting and reunion;
The moon lacks lustre, brightly shines; is al, is less.
Perfection was never easily come by.
Though miles apart, could men but live for ever
Dreaming they shared this moonlight endlessly!
Su Tung-po :

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)

Passing the Winter at Yunhua but not meeting up with my friend
I came to this place where the trees are confusingly thick.
Suddenly in the arched vault of the forest I found a path.

I passed that stone... the one below the green pavilion.
There was frost on the leaves and the branch tips were bare and red.
Who was it who carved those emotional words in the rock?

I waited. Ah... All feelings,
Are they not just emptiness of "me"?

The Chan gates both rest quietly now
With the plum trees and the grasses
Awaiting the winds of Spring.


1 Examining into the imperial T'ang's securing heaven and earth and penetrating the vapor-mother, hsi! enlightening the five leaves' blossoming luxurience, 2 It was K'ai-yüan that initiated the vast lodging with its revolvings around the pole star, hsi! encompassing the Six Thearch's glorious splendour. 3 Born in golden virtue's pure essence, hsi! cleansed in the jade dew's flourescent nourishment. 4 Refined elegance flourishes among the seven brilliances, hsi! decrees and enactments are according to the double principles, he embraces all the mysteries and acts as a master. 5 His brightness leaves nothing shadowed or unenlightened, his sovereign morality leaves none distanced or unendowed.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Hsing Hsing Ming (Seng- Ts'an 529-606)

Emptiness here, Emptiness there,
but the infinite universe stands
always before your eyes.
Infinitely large and infinitely small:
no difference, for definitions have vanished.
and no boundaries are seen.
So too with Being and non-Being.
Don't waste time in doubts and arguments
that have nothing to do with this.
One thing, all things:
move among and intermingle,
without distinction.
To live in this realization
is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.
To live in this faith is the road to non-duality,
because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.
The Way is beyond language,
for in it there is
     no yesterday
          no tomorrow
               no today.

Hồ Xuân Hương (1772-1822)

Spring-Watching Pavilion

A gentle spring evening arrives
airily, unclouded by worldly dust.

Three times the bell tolls echoes like a wave.
We see heaven upside-down in sad puddles.

Love's vast sea cannot be emptied.
And springs of grace flow easily everywhere.

Where is nirvana?
Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten.
Ho Xuan Huong :

Chia Tao (779-843)

Spring Travel

Keeping on and on,
a traveler gets farther, farther away;
dust of the world
follows an indefatigable horse.

A traveler's feelings
after the sun's rays slant-
colors of spring
in the morning mist.

The river's flow heard
at the empty inn-
flowers just blooming
at the old palace.

I think of home
a thousand li away;
wind off the pond
stirs in green willows.
Chia Tao :

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Wang Wei (699-761)

Fine Apricot Lodge
Wang Wei

Fine apricot was cut for the roof beam,
Fragrant cogon grass tied for the eaves.
I know not when the cloud from this house
Will go to make rain among the people.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Yau Ywe-Hwa (Tang Dynasty)

Still He Does Not Come
by Yau Ywe-Hwa (T'ang Dynasty)

I have been here a long time,
With silver candles
And sparkling wine,
Walking up to the gate
And back again,
Watching for him
Till it's nearly daylight.

Now the moon has set,
The stars are few,
And still he does not come.

Suddenly wingbeats drum
In the misty willows;
A magpie flies off.

In China the magpie is associated with happiness. In this case the happiness of the poetess is flying away.

Li Qingzhao (1084-1155)

 Li Qingzhao (Li Ching-chao, 1084-1155)

This year with the end of autumn
I find my reflection graying at the temples.
Now that the evening wind is gaining force,
what shall become of the plum blossoms?

Li Qingzhao (1084-1155)

Li Qingzhao (Li Ching-chao, 1084-1155)

The migrant songbird on the bough wet with dew
tears to my eyes with her melodious trills—
this fresh downpour rewetting the stains of older spills;
another spring gone, and still no word from you ...

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Su Shi (Su Tung Po- 1037-1101)

Visiting the Temple of the God of Mercy on a Rainy Day
Su Shi

The silkworms grow old,
The wheat half yellow,
The rain falls unrestrained about the mountain.
The farmers cannot work the land,
Nor women gather mulberry,
The Immortals sit high in white robes in the hall.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Han Yu (768-824)

The Palace Of The Sui Emperor

His Palace of Purple Spring has been taken by mist and cloud,
As he would have taken all Yangzhou to be his private domain
But for the seal of imperial jade being seized by the first Tang Emperor,
He would have bounded with his silken sails the limits of the world.
Fire-flies are gone now, have left the weathered grasses,
But still among the weeping-willows crows perch at twilight.
...If he meets, there underground, the Later Chen Emperor,
Do you think that they will mention a Song of Courtyard Flowers?
Han Yu :